Access and Barriers

Access to Safe Abortions Across Asia: A Digest

In the past month, we’ve featured several posts on our blog that highlight access to safe abortions in some of our member countries. Here’s a quick look at these posts:

Understanding the relationship between the access to safe abortion and the law: About 25% of the world lives under stringent abortion laws. But even in countries where laws are fairly liberal, religious fundamentalism, patriarchy, unsupportive medical professionals and conservative politicians threaten access to safe abortion services.

Do you want to vote against Abortion:  As people get swept into the anti-choice movement, it is important to for them to question the implications of this decision. Do they realize that this battle will finally affect people they know, and even loved ones?Ipas’ Video Think About It asks this very question.

Barriers to Safe Abortion in Indonesia: Bad Law creates Bad Business by Inna Hudaya, Founder and Director of Samsara, explores the connection between legal loopholes and the abortion black market, which thrives on the basic reproductive needs of vulnerable women.

Barriers to Safe Abortion in Pakistan: Is morality a bigger barrier than the law? Uzma Farooq, Advocacy Officer at Shirkat Gah explores the situation in Pakistan, referring to the attitudes of providers and the public towards abortion.

Barriers to Safe Abortion in Turkey: Turkey fought hard in the 1980s for safe abortion rights for all women up to 10 weeks of pregnancy. But as a conservative regime threatens to strip women of these rights, Prof. Ayse Akin, a care provider and women’s rights activist writes a testimonial that recounts the struggle in the 1980s, and the battle to protect rights now.

Barriers to Safe Abortion in India: India has a fairly liberal abortion law. But plenty of barriers remain in place. One is the campaign against sex-selection. This interview with Dr. Manisha Gupte, activist and founder of Masum, talks about the need to weave in a rights-based approach into the abortion laws in India in order to make it more available across the country.

Barriers to Safe Abortion in Malaysia:  In Malaysia, abortion laws are fairly liberal. Women can get safe and legal abortions if the procedure will save their lives, or if the pregnancy is a threat to the physical or mental health of the woman. Yet, the access to affordable, safe abortions remains a huge issue in Malaysia, even for those women who satisfy the legal criteria for abortions. The culprit: abortion stigma. This interview with Dr. Choong, ASAP Steering committee chair elaborates these barriers.

What does the WHO say about access and these barriers: Earlier this Year the WHO published the updated Safe Abortion Guidance. ASAP’s Coordinator, Dr. Suchitra Dalvie, writes about the recommendations made in the 2012 update.


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